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Rose growers put best blooms forward

June 16, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Rose rent ceremonies Sunday at the Zion Reformed and First Lutheran churches involved just one rose apiece, but 365 of the area's finest blooms could be found this weekend in the Lutheran church's fellowship hall.

Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, Grandifloras, Old Garden Roses, Polyanthas, sprays, miniatures, climbers and shrub roses decorated tables for the South Penn Area Rose Society's 35th annual rose show Saturday and Sunday, as well as entries in several floral design categories.

Queens top kings in this rose show, and the crown for Queen of Show went to a Pristine Hybrid Tea grown by Mr. and Mrs. David Yingling of York, Pa.

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"They don't have to be members. This is open to any rose grower," said Patria Lawrence of Chambersburg, the society's second vice president, noting that the Yinglings are not members and it was their first year in the competition.

While most of the roses were grown in Franklin County, Lawrence said the society has members in Hagerstown, Harrisburg, Pa., and points in between. The rules stipulate that the roses must be grown outdoors and the grower must be able to properly name the specimen, Lawrence said.

King of Show honors went to an Andrea Stelzer rose grown by Mr. and Mrs. H.K. Hawkesworth of Chambersburg. Rounding out the Royal Court of Honor were the Princess of Show grown by the Hawkesworths, and the Prince, grown by Dale and Elaine Martin of Chambersburg.

American Rose Society rules governed the judging, according to Lawrence, who picked up some awards in the design categories.

"I'm experienced, so it wouldn't take me long, maybe 10 minutes" to assemble a creation, Lawrence said. It's the process of coming up with an original design that takes the most time, she said.

"We had pretty roses, but not show roses," remarked Mary Jane Lynch, who was a host at the show Sunday but not a competitor. She admired the development of the stem and leaves on the Yinglings' winning entry.

"This was not a good year for our Hagerstown show because of the weather," said Dixie Dunn Ruby of Hagerstown. "Chambersburg had a better show than Hagerstown in that they had more to choose from."

Her husband, Robert, served as co-chair of the event in Chambersburg, but often is a judge, including at the national competition last year in Philadelphia. Dixie said he is called constantly with questions from other growers about fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides.

"We have a little over 300," Robert Ruby said of the number the couple grows at home.

Susie Farner and her mother, Sarah Bitner, both of Chambersburg, came to take in the sight and aroma of the blooms. Neither had been to the show before.

"They're all gorgeous," Farner said.

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